By Emily Norman

Masterton District Council will most probably not be using all its $4.27 million NZTA subsidy for roading this financial year.

Assets and operations manager David Hopman confirmed MDC planned to spend $3.72 million of the subsidy at last week’s Audit and Risk Committee meeting, which raised a few questions from councillors.

Councillor Deborah Davidson queried whether not spending the full subsidy would affect future funding.

Mr Hopman said the funding process was not straightforward and although the risk was always there that NZTA would cut the council’s programme back, it was highly unlikely.

He said council would be presenting a new programme to NZTA next year with different focuses and justified spending for funding subsidies.

“We are tracking to not claim the full subsidy this year,” he said.

“We’ve let a number of contracts and some resealing has come in slightly below our forecast.

“We’re paying what we spend, so if we don’t spend it, we don’t claim it.”

Councillor Graham McClymont asked “is there nothing we couldn’t be spending our money on to make sure we get those savings?”.

Council chief executive Pim Borren said he was encouraging his staff to spend efficiently and did not agree with maximising Central Government funding in work that was “not necessary”.

Mr Hopman said staff were looking at passing on any savings or efficiencies “we can generate by not spending unnecessarily, and allocating the savings elsewhere, prioritising into different areas”.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said not all ratepayers were satisfied with the condition of the roads in the district, and some might ask why the full subsidy was not being used.

“Some roads are bad at the moment because we’ve done sewerage renewal,” she said.

“But if the water main is due to be done in two years’ time, is it cost effective for us to reseal that road and then the next year dig it up again?

“It’s a problem for us at the moment.”

Mr Hopman said council management were following around an “extensive” water and sewer renewal project.

“You just have to drive the roads to see the patching.

“A lot of those [roads] are scheduled for complete reseals — that’s all in train.”